Ready, Set, Cook! Special Edition Contest Entry: This recipe is a comforting call-back to eating Sunday dinner with Grandma. The cheesy center of the potato dumplings, heaped with the spice-kissed bacon gravy is sure to warm tummies and hearts.
Goat Cheese Filling
- 3 ounces goat cheese
- 1⁄4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon green onion, finely chopped (reserve chopped green tops for garnish)
- 1⁄4 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, measure
Potato Dumpling Dough
- 1 1⁄2 cups Simply Potatoes Traditional Mashed Potatoes
- 1 1⁄2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 fresh egg, beaten
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
Country-Style Bacon Gravy
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon (6 for the gravy, 2 for garnishing)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1⁄2 teaspoon allspice berry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1⁄4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons unbleached flour
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- Making the Goat Cheese Filling: Add all ingredients into a small bowl, blend together with a fork, and set aside in refrigerator.
- Mixing together the Potato Dumpling Dough: In a large mixing bowl add mashed potatoes, flour, egg, along with salt and pepper. Stir together with a wooden spoon or your hands into a thick, slightly sticky dough. Dip hands in flour, as needed, and divide dough into 8 golf-sized pieces. Dust with flour if needed, flatten each piece and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Assembling the Potato Dumplings: On the center of each piece of flattened dough spoon a heaping teaspoon of goat cheese filling. Fold dough, like a taco, encasing filling in the dough, then roll into a ball. Roll in a bowl of unbleached flour, dust off, and place back on the sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Let rest in refrigerator, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes. (Note: Spread any leftover goat cheese filling on a water cracker -- truly a tasty treat for the cook :).
- Preparing the Country-Style Bacon Gravy: Place bacon strips on a baking pan covered with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, crumble, and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels. In a small saucepan, stir together milk, chicken broth, whole allspice, and bay leaf. Over high heat, bring this mixture just to steaming, immediately turn to low and steep liquid with spices, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat to sizzling. Toss in onions and red peppers, stir to coat with olive oil. Sweat veggies, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn heat to medium, add red pepper flakes, garlic, butter chunks, and stir until butter is melted. Sprinkle flour over the veggie/butter mixture and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, so mixture does not stick or burn in the saute pan. Strain the spices from the milk and chicken broth. Now, vigorously whisk in 1/2 of the hot liquid into the veggie/flour mixture; sauce will thicken. Pour in the remaining hot liquid, continue to occasionally whisk over medium heat until thickened and heated through (do not bring to a boil). Remove from heat, mix in the 6 slices of crumbled bacon, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
- Cooking and Serving the Potato Dumplings: Over high heat bring a large pot of water to boiling; add a pinch or two of salt, if desired. Turn down to medium high heat, carefully drop in the prepared potato dumplings, give the boiling water a stir to make sure potato dumplings are not stuck to the bottom of the pot, and then tightly cover the pot. Boil for 15-20 minutes (the light and fluffy dumplings will float to the top). With a slotted spoon, scoop out the potato dumplings into bowls, smother with 1/2 cup of the hot bacon gravy garnished with bacon crumbles and chopped green onion tops. Steamed carrot coins or a green salad compliment this dish nicely as a side.